Thrillers can be funny too, and not many thrillers are as funny as Paul Feig’s stylish, sexy and self-aware A Simple Favor. The film stars Anna Kendrick as Stephanie Smothers, a wholesome “mommy blogger” who befriends Emily Nelson, a well-dressed, frequently soused socialite played by Blake Lively. When Emily asks Stephanie for “a simple favor,” an emergency babysitting job for her son, Stephanie is eager to please. But when Emily vanishes without a trace, all Stephanie’s got is an extra kid, Emily’s hunky husband, and a mystery that desperately needs solving.
A Simple Favor is a wickedly clever mystery, with funny, smart, suburban thrills. And if all the film had was its brilliant, self-aware dialogue (“Are you try to Diabolique me?!” would make any thriller fan guffaw) it would be one of the most entertaining thrillers of the century. But hidden just behind its masterfully comic performances and clever story is an exceptionally subversive tale of jealousy, possessiveness, and unexpected sexual kink. The humor is just a way to deliver a disturbing message about the ugly underpinnings of the most seemingly benign aspects of society, the internet, parenthood, you name it. And it all comes out the way the best revelations do: in a graveyard, with martinis.